New Year's Dreamin'

What do valley leaders want for 2008


With the turn of the calendar comes the inclination to look down the road at what can be accomplished in the next 366 days (2008 is a leap year).

Sure, many of us will make some noncommittal vow about eating better, reading more or improving ourselves in some other way. But for community leaders, the topic of those new year resolutions tend to be a little bigger than being nicer to your neighbor.

We here at BW were curious about just what deep thoughts roll around in the minds of those who are playing featured roles in the Treasure Valley. So, we asked them one simple question: What would you like to see happen in 2008?

Dave Bieter, Boise Mayor

"I want to get in shape; that's New Year's resolution-y," Bieter said with a laugh.

Personal fitness goals aside, Bieter said he would like to see the new whitewater park on the Boise River completed, as well as improved air quality.

"Local option authority would be wonderful, but that, I'm never going to get ahead of," he said.

Bieter is also looking at the bigger picture. "I'd like to see the economy stay strong," he said. "In some ways that goes at the top of the list."

Rachel Winer, executive director of Idaho Smart Growth

There seems to be no end to the issues facing Idaho Smart Growth, a group dedicated to promoting conscientious growth in the state. But as 2008 begins, Winer is focusing on three. "I'd like to see the Legislature pass a local option sales tax for transportation," she said.

"I'd also like to see the communities around the Treasure Valley keeping this regional work moving forward and actually planning as a community," she said. And finally, "Just continue to see more people getting involved in keeping their community vibrant."

Maryanne Jordan, Boise City Council Member

"I would like all of the participating parties to kick in enough funds to get our detox center open," Jordan said.

She's keeping her eye on the bigger picture, focusing on rewriting the city's comprehensive plan to fall in line with the Blueprint for Good Growth, as well as pushing for the State Legislature to approve a local option sales tax to fund roads and transit.

Jim Tibbs, Boise City Council Member

Tibbs is putting the race for Boise Mayor behind him and focusing on the larger issues facing the city. Chief among them: transportation.

"It's a make or break year for the local option taxing authority for the cities," he said. Tibbs also wants to see one blight permanently removed from the city: the Boise Hole. "It used to be an embarrassment, now it's a joke," he said.

Tibbs also wants to see more police on the streets and for the city to take a larger leadership role in environmentally friendly practices and improved relationships with other governmental entities. And, of course, just one thing for himself: "I hope there's a lot of snow in the mountains."

Andrea Shipley, executive director of the Snake River Alliance

In the next year the conservation organization wants to steer the state away from the two proposed nuclear power plants and toward sustainable energy sources like wind, geothermal, solar and biomass.

"We really want to see Idaho carbon-free and nuclear-free," Shipley said. "I would love to see a people's energy plan that really reflected what the folks in Idaho needed. [One that] boosted rural economies and [that is] made from renewable, clean energy."

Amy Herzfeld, executive director of the Idaho Human Rights Committee

For someone who leads a group dedicated to protecting civil rights, it's appropriate that Herzfeld is focusing on those who currently lie in the gray area of civil liberties. "I'd love to see the State Legislature add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act," she said. "I think that would help to establish some equality for LGBT families in housing and health care."

Dave Krick, downtown business owner

While Krick's day job is in the restaurant industry, his passion lies in the environment. "If I were king for a day, the one thing I'd like to see is a sense of consciousness about the sustainablity of our community," he said. "We need to look at transitioning our economy to a green community."

Deanna Watson, executive director Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority

Like many, Watson's focus is on growth and transportation. In addition to a light rail system, Watson would like to see stricter development standards that would regulate the quality of construction. She also wants to see the community detox center running, additional workforce housing in the core of Boise and more work addressing the area's homeless problem. "There's a tremendous momentum right now with faith-based, the city and community coming together," she said. "There are better ways to help people."

Michael Masterson, Boise Police Chief

As in past years, Masterson is looking for new ways to help Boise avoid the problems many growing cities suffer. He hopes for increased cooperation between community members and other city offices. "We're going to want to continue to see proactive problem-solving strategies that will address patterns of crime," he said.

"The answer is the continued partnerships with other city agencies and other stakeholders in the process," Masterson said. "The highest priority we have is that we need to make sure that our service delivery meets and exceeds the needs of the citizens of Boise," Masterson said. "We need to make sure our residents are satisfied with their police services."

John Franden, Ada County Highway District Board of Directors Chair

Franden's focus is the continual growth in the valley. Among his top priorities is finalizing an intergovernmental alliance to guide growth, along with the Blueprint for Good Growth.

He would also like to see the Ada County vehicle registration fee extended past its 2010 expiration date and the State Legislature approve the local option sales tax.

"I'd really like to see the Idaho Legislature give the people the opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' to a local option tax of some type," he said.